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LTD Editors's blog

Friday roundup: Inequality, Stiglitz, Chetty, frugal innovation, polio, and nudges

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Inequality is trending as a news topic, in part due to new research by Branko Milanovic and colleagues and because Pope Francis as well as President Obama are treating it as a watershed issue. Read the piece by Howard Schneider in the Washington Post's Wonkblog for more.

Joe Stiglitz won the 2014 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize for his work on income inequality in the U.S. and its impact on public policy, adding to his many accolades. Read the Bloomberg coverage here.

Friday Round-up: Nelson Mandela, the power of Universal Health Coverage, the AIDS epidemic in 4 charts, gauging corruption, and grim climate trends

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The week ended with the passing at age 95 of Nelson Mandela, father of South African democracy and a global icon for freedom. Read President Jacob Zuma's statement  as well as a statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim --

Universal health coverage was the topic of a December 6 speech by Jim Kim in Tokyo.

On the heels of World AIDS Day on December 1, Tariq Khokhar of the World Bank's Data Group provided a snapshot of the global state of AIDS in four charts.

​Friday Round up: USAID on ending poverty, Helping after Haiyan, Reforms in China, debate on liquidity traps

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'Ending Extreme Poverty' was the focus of an impassioned, thoughtful speech by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah on November 21 at the Brookings Institution. Related to that, Laurence Chandy draws heavily on World Bank estimates to make his own interactive analysis of what it will take to end poverty by 2030. 

Friday Roundup: Kaushik Basu on twin goals, natural disasters and the poor, FDI to South Asia, women in the Ethiopian workforce, and financial inclusion

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Written in the wake of the World Bank Group's two recently adopted overarching goals — ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity — Kaushik Basu's new working paper examines the longstanding debate on growth, redistribution, and poverty. Basu analyzes past poverty trends on poverty and sheds new light on an old debate.

Jun Rentschler's new paper presents empirical evidence of the profound and long-term damage from adverse natural events on poverty. The paper discusses detrimental long-term consequences for the income and welfare of the poor and the presence of poverty traps that result from damages to productive assets, health, and education.

Friday roundup: Fuel subsidies, Stiglitz on US investment pacts, Afro optimism, China Plenum and OECD aid overhaul

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'A 12-Step Program for Fuel Subsidy-aholics' by Eric Morris on Freakonomics lays out ideas for how to limit or eliminate such subsidies, drawing on research by the IMF and others.

In a Project Syndicate piece titled 'South Africa breaks out', Joe Stiglitz explains why several important emerging market countries are not fans of either the transatlantic or Pacific investment pacts now being negotiated.

A New Pew Research Report finds Despite Challenges, Africans Are Optimistic about the Future. Indeed, the survey actually shows that, when it come to the economic Outlook, respondents were more positive in Africa than Europe or Middle East.

The organization of political parties and the politics of bureaucratic reform

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Bureaucratic reform is a priority of donor organizations, including the World Bank, but is notoriously difficult to implement. In many countries, politicians have little interest in the basic financial and personnel management systems that are essential to political oversight of bureaucratic performance. A new paper by Cesi Cruz and Philip Keefer presents a new perspective on the political economy of bureaucracy. Politicians in some countries belong to parties that are organized to allow party members to act collectively to limit leader shirking. This is particularly the case with programmatic parties. Such politicians have stronger incentives to pursue public policies that require a well-functioning public administration. Novel evidence offers robust support for this argument. From a sample of 439 World Bank public sector reform loans in 109 countries, the paper finds that public sector reforms are more likely to succeed in countries with programmatic political parties. Read the entire paper here.

Friday Roundup: Development Impact Bonds, Good Governance, and Doing Business

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Matthew Bishop of The Economist, describes the concept of Development Impact Bonds (DIBs).  The idea is that a delivery agent (an NGO, for example) figures out how to make a measureable improvement in some social problem, someone (usually government, perhaps philanthropy) agrees to pay for that outcome if it is achieved, and investors provide financing that pays for the intervention. Learn more on the Philanthrocapitalism Blog.

Friday Roundup: Inequality demystified, CCTs, GiveDirectly, post offices to expand financial inclusion, and malaria in Africa

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Globalization has benefited an emerging “global middle class,” mainly people in places such as China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, along with the world’s top 1 percent, said Branko Milanovic at a recent Policy Research Talk. But people at the very bottom of the income ladder, as well as the lower-middle class of rich countries, lost out.

In an article published by The Economist today, World Bank researcher Berk Ozler contends that conditional cash transfers work better when the problems individuals face go beyond mere shortage of cash.  If families do not appreciate the real value of education, for instance, or if part of the benefit of doing something comes when everyone does it (vaccination is a case in point), people left to themselves may not spend enough on education or health. CCTs help to overcome that.

Friday Roundup: Globalization, schooling gaps, the five hour energy guy, inequality, Phailin's wake and China in world trade

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Simon J Evenett and Douglas Irwin debate on the future and prospects of globalization in the latest edition of the Economist Debates.

In 'The Gap Between Schooling and Education' on the NYT Economix blog, Annie Lowrey interviews CGD's Lant Pritchett about his new book, "The Gap Between Schooling and Education."

The WSJ's 'At Work' blog carries an interview by Rachel Feintzeig with Manoj Bhargava, a CEO who dropped out of Princeton and lived like a monk in India for 12 years before making it big.

Joe Stiglitz has a piece titled 'Inequality is a Choice' on the NYT's opinionator blog.

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